Please see below the several common eye problems we routinely pick up:


 

Diabetic Eye Disease Glaucoma Cataracts Age Related Macular Degeneration
 

In general, glaucoma is a group of diseases where there is damage to the optic nerve as it leaves the eye. The optic nerve carries all the information from the back of the eye (the retina) and damage to this nerve leads to visual loss.

In some people the damage is caused by a raised pressure in the eye, while in other cases the eye pressure is normal but there is a weakness in the blood supply to the nerve. (Low tension glaucoma). The pressure of the eye is created by the aqueous humour, a fluid within the eye produced by cells behind the iris.  It travels through the pupil to drain away into a tiny sponge-like meshwork, called the trabecular meshwork, and situated between the back of the cornea and the iris.

Eye

Glaucoma is very common with 2% of the over 40 population being affected.
There are 4 main types of glaucoma

  1. Chronic
  2. Acute
  3. Secondary
  4. Congenital

The most common type of glaucoma is chronic glaucoma, where there is a slow build up of pressure within the eye. There are no symptoms, although the vision is being damaged.  It is often caused by the drainage channels becoming blocked.

The three main tests we use to check for chronic glaucoma are, measuring the pressure of the eye, assessing the optic nerve by looking into the eye and testing the field of vision to pick up any loss of vision.

Chronic glaucoma is generally treated by reducing the eye pressure using eye drops. If this does not help then laser treatment or a small operation may be necessary. We do know that early diagnosis is important to keep any damage to a minimum.

Certain people are at more risk of developing chronic glaucoma, these include people over 40, those with a family history of the disease, people who are very short sighted, diabetic patients and those of African race.

In acute or angle closure glaucoma, the angle of the anterior chamber (the gap between the cornea and the iris) becomes suddenly blocked, stopping any fluid being drained. This leads to a rapid build up of pressure.

The increase in pressure is often very painful and causes a red eye.  The vision becomes blurred and coloured rings or haloes are seen around white lights. The most common time for an attack to occur is in the evening.  Some people have a series of mild attacks first.

If you have acute glaucoma you will need to go to hospital straight away to relieve the pressure build up. Then laser treatment is usually required to make a drainage hole.

Secondary glaucoma is a less common condition where there is an increased pressure as a result of another condition. Congenital glaucoma is very rare and occurs when a baby is born with an abnormality of the eye.

For more information contact:

The International Glaucoma Association
Kings College Hospital
Denmark Hill
London SE5 9RS
Tel. 0207737 3265